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Thursday, June 23, 2005

 

Elections

Right now I think that one of the most important domestic issues that our nation faces is ensuring that we have fair and open elections for all citizens. In the past two presidential elections there have been serious issues with the legitimacy of our voting. In 2000 there was the whole controversy with African American voters being disenfranchised if they had names similar to convicted felons or shared their birthday. In the past election there were allegations out of Ohio that voters had been turned away at the poles or otherwise kept from casting votes. The number of voters that were disenfranchised were not enough to influence the election, but this is still a disturbing trend.

It has become a strategy in some parts of the republican party to keep people from voting when it is believed they won't be voting your way. The main targets of this are young voters and minorities the people least likely to vote for conservative candidates. In Minnesota the secretary of state tried to drive down voter turn outs by making it difficult for students to vote. She required students to vote where their identification says they live. Nearly all college students have their home address and not their school address on their drivers license. We were able to work around this problem in Morris because we enlisted a large number of volunteers to vouch for people at the polls. There is currently a bill in the MN state legislature to cap the number of people that someone can vouch for.

I think that politicized our elections is an incredibly dangerous idea. We will be in a far better place if our leaders can be picked by the merits of their ideas, and not just the power of their political parties to get their voters to the polls. I think that all people should be given the right to vote not because higher turn outs are traditionally beneficial to liberal candidates, but instead because everyone is effected by the government they should have a say in who runs things.

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